Archive | 2:18 am

DEE-FENCE and Empire

22 May


When I was a student back in High School during the late 60s and early 70s I remember always having a History class but never really studying current events. Class was always focused on the past and usually the distant past and then we would try to relate how past history was relevant to our present day lives but we never seemed to ever talk about present history in the making and how that was relevant to…well… our lives right there in the present where we were living them.

And the reasoning for this always seemed to be that to discuss the present in the present would be too controversial for those living in the present which, as I think about it now, was pretty idiotic especially when you consider that at that time in the 60s and the 70s the present meant the War in Vietnam. And if you were a young man living at that time and in high school then your senior year would usually mean that you would be turning 18 and then would become eligible for the selective service draft lottery.

And at that time in American history that was the most important event that would ever happen to us and would shape our lives or deaths for the rest of our “histories”.

And yet, we never discussed it. We watched it on TV every night but we really never discussed it in school. Talk about surreal! Talk about a show named Survivor! For all intents and purposes the greatest event of our young lives was a television show that was a reality for those who were in Vietnam and living that nightmare but just a show on television for those who were lucky enough to survive the lottery and not have to go there.

The reason I bring this up now is because I have just recently become aware of the fact that just during my lifetime the United States military has been involved in 72 separate military interventions throughout the globe and on every continent (with the exception of Antarctica) and yet how many of these interventions were required discussions in our classrooms let alone required studies at the time they were happening?

And yet as of 2011, the U.S. spends about $550 billion annually to fund its military forces, and appropriates approximately $160 billion to fund Overseas Contingency Operations, And that does not even count our secret expenditures within the CIA and other intelligence agencies. Put together, the U.S. with only 6% of the world’s population, constitutes roughly 43 percent of the world’s military expenditures.

We have almost 1.5 million active service personnel plus another 800,000  in reserve and that’s not counting the 137,000 men and women serving and being paid  in private military/security companies.

And all of these soldiers are stationed in 150 countries around the world…out of 196… If we were playing a game of Risk, we would have tokens on over 76% of the game board.

And now that our armies are manned (and womanned) strictly by volunteers or mercenaries, most of us at home have little or no personal interest in what our military does…and we don’t even talk about when it does do something And even If you want to hear about it on the news you only have a small window between 6:30 and 7pm where our networks  might be able to provide you with a sound bite or two.

Ladies and Gentlemen, in case you haven’t noticed we have achieved empire status and perhaps this could be one reason why our schools and our students in them are falling behind the rest of the world educationally. Why study? Why bother? The game is all but won? We dominate the board and the livin’ is easy.

Our entire nation is like the rich kid with the wealthy parents who can get him into any school he wants and make sure that he graduates whether he studies, learns, shows up to class…or doesn’t. We dominate the globe and use 1/2 of its stuff while we’re only 1/16 of its population. We don’t even send our best and our brightest off to fight, dominate and protect the realm. We send our poorest… and as one reader of my blog pointed out to me… Why should we worry about how poor our poor people are when they are the richest poor people in the world?

And In fact due to our ennui here at home and a declining supply of qualified recruits, the armed forces has now considered seeking math and science qualified recruits from foreign countries, through an accelerated citizenship for foreign nationals because only one in four Americans of the proper age currently meet our own moral, academic and physical standards for military service.

So…We are going to outsource our own military with people from countries who we are supposedly defending ourselves from?… which sounds to me like a key ingredient in the recipe for the demise of every other empire ever to have inhabited our planet.

Meanwhile, back at home, along with the 23% of our budget that we are spending on Military/Defense and Veteran spending we are spending 20% of our budget on the Social Security Trust Fundbecause we borrowed the 2.6 trillion dollars that is supposed to be in that fund to fund our budget shortfalls over the last 30 years…perhaps because we were spending so much money on our nation’s defense?

In any case how much more offensive defense can our empire afford? It seems to me that we are going to have to eventually put some points on the board  in the form of more money earned by the  home team if we want to get back in the game legitimately and pay our bills… or perhaps we will just have to figure out better and more ingenious ways to continue to beg, borrow and steal it…



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